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Karl W. Fischer

December 8, 1922 November 7, 2009
Karl W. Fischer
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Obituary for Karl W. Fischer

Karl Willard Fischer, 86, of the Methwick Community, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure on Friday, November 6, 2009, at St. Luke’s Hospital.
    Celebration of Life services will be held Wednesday, November 11, 2009, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home, Vinton.  Committal services and military rites performed by Vinton’s Geo. G. Luckey American Legion Post 57 will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, November 12, at Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton.  In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established for public art in Vinton.
    Karl was born in Vinton, Iowa, on December 8, 1922.  He was the eldest of four children born to Karl W. Fischer, Sr. and Doris Miller Fischer.  His early life was spent in Vinton.  Karl graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines where the family had moved in the early 1930s when his father was appointed the first Public Safety Commissioner for the State of Iowa.  Karl spent his freshman year of college at the University of Iowa, joining Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.  In June of 1942, he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.  Karl graduated from the Naval Academy in June of 1945 with the rank of Ensign and served on LSMRs and LSTs until his discharge in August 1947.  He returned to the University of Iowa and graduated from the U of I Law School in February 1950 with a Juris Doctorate degree.
    In April 1946, he married Patricia Tobin of Vinton, his first and only love.  Their 63-year marriage brought only joy.
    Karl joined the law firm of Tobin & Bordewick as a junior partner in March 1950 with Judge John W. Tobin and Maurice Bordewick.  After a few years his younger brother, Bennett M. Fischer, joined him in that firm and later still, his son, John Karl Fischer.  Finally his nephew, Robert Fischer, became a part of the family practice which remains today as a fifth generation and the second oldest in Iowa.
    During the Korean War and later, Karl acted as the Red Cross Home Service Chairman.  He served as a pro bono referee for Benton County, and as Chairman of the Board of the State Bank of Vinton and Virginia Gay Hospital.  His law practice was primarily counseling corporations and probate where he was held in high respect by his peers and members of the judiciary.  His life was devoted to doing the best job possible and with the highest integrity.  He was very patriotic.  Love for and pride in his family was the greatest inspiration to him.
    Karl suffered a heart attack in November 1982, at which time he retired from the practice of law.  He and Patricia have spent winters in Naples, Florida, since then and summers at their lake home in the Chippewa National Forest of northern Minnesota.
    In the late 1950s, he formed Hawkbilt Corporation in conjunction with inventor Keith D. Elwick and served as the guiding force in its success until its sale in 1977.
    In 1963, Karl and several friends began a development project on Bequia, a tiny Caribbean island in the West Indies.  Despite lack of electricity and communications, it prospered and exists today as a still growing and viable international community on the West Indian island.  It has served as a challenge for 46 years.  It is managed at present by son, John Fischer; nephew, Ross Hadley; and Bequia contractor, Euthan McIntosh.
    He is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughter, Betsy (Rick) Hadley of Vinton; son, John (Michelle) Fischer of Cedar Rapids; grandson, Ross W. (Nori) Hadley and great-grandsons, Simon & Thomas Hadley of Decorah; granddaughter, Jenna Fischer of Nancý, France; grandson, Ian Fischer of Cedar Rapids; sister, Margaret (Dudley) Taylor of Palm City, FL; sister, Judy (Al) Hirsch of Sammamish, WA; sister-in-law, Yvonne Fischer of Vinton and many nieces and nephews.
    Karl was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Ben.    
    Karl lived life with passion, intensity and a thirst for adventure.  He will be greatly missed.


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